14 Dec Benefits of Meditation
The popularity of meditation is increasing as more people discover its benefits.
Meditation is a habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts.
You can use it to increase awareness of yourself and your surroundings. Many people think of it as a way to reduce stress and develop concentration. People also use the practice to develop other beneficial habits and feelings, such as a positive mood and outlook, self-discipline, healthy sleep patterns and even increased pain tolerance.
Stress Reduction is one of the most common reasons people try meditation.
Normally, mental and physical stress cause increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This produces many of the harmful effects of stress, such as the release of inflammation-promoting chemicals called cytokines.
These effects can disrupt sleep, promote depression and anxiety, increase blood pressure and contribute to fatigue and cloudy thinking.
During a study, a meditation style called “mindfulness meditation” reduced the inflammation response caused by stress. It has been shown that meditation may also improve symptoms of stress-related conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder and fibromyalgia.
Less stress translates to less anxiety.
As mentioned mindfulness meditation helps participants reduce their anxiety. It also reduced symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as phobias, social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviours and panic attacks. With a continued daily practice regular meditation, exercise and a plant-based diet statistics have been shown that an overall lowering of anxiety levels in the long term. There are many forms of meditation, for example, yoga, bushwalking, swimming, journaling, breathing, guided meditation just to name a few. Meditation may also help control job-related anxiety in high-pressure work environments. These forms of meditation can also lead to an improved self-image and more positive outlook on life.
Inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which are released in response to stress can affect mood, leading to depression. A review of several studies suggests meditation may reduce depression by decreasing these inflammatory chemicals. Those who meditated showed measurable changes in activity in areas related to positive thinking and optimism.
Some forms of meditation may help you develop a stronger understanding of yourself, helping you grow into your best self. For example, self-inquiry meditation explicitly aims to help you develop a greater understanding of yourself and how you relate to those around you. Other forms teach you to recognize thoughts that may be harmful or self-defeating. The idea is that as you gain greater awareness of your thought habits, you can steer them toward more constructive patterns.
A study of women fighting breast cancer found that when they took part in a tai chi program, their self-esteem improved more than it did than in those who received social support sessions. In another study, senior men and women who took a mindfulness meditation program experienced reduced feelings of loneliness, compared to a control group that had been placed on a wait list for the program.
The great thing about meditation these days is it can be weaved into our everyday lives, a few minutes at a time. The benefits are huge! Here at the Chief Life, we look at this as one of our foundational pillars in reducing stress and improving our overall wellbeing! Let us help you become more grounded and centred today.